Storefront Improvement Program

Since 1986, the Storefront Improvement Program (SIP) has provided free  conceptual design service and a financial incentive based on the resulting construction costs to small business owners that possess a valid Business Tax Certificate.

The  City’s Economic Development Division administers the program and selects projects that provide the greatest public benefit to commercial districts in need of revitalization.  Each application is reviewed for eligibility and evaluated based on current condition of the building/façade,  community need/demand for change, and creative value of the project, among other criteria.

For more information, including examples of completed projects, visit the City of San Diego Storefront Improvement Program  at:

What’s New? The City has recently stream-lined the SIP process, making it easier for small businesses to participate and shortening the start-to-finish time involved.

ADA Education

On July 26, 1990, Congress passed the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)…. There was a two year grace period for businesses to comply with the new ADA legislation, which includes a detailed list of specific access and signage requirements. Unfortunately, since this legislation was passed, many landlords and business owners have failed to comply. Many new buildings have been built with little attention being given to access for people with disabilities.

If you are a business owner or landlord, you must take immediate action to ensure that your business is compliant with ADA law. If you are not in compliance, your business may be sued under the law. Some plaintiff attorneys state that lawsuits are the only way to force businesses into compliance with the law. It is surmised by some defendants that the suits are simply motivated by greed. Whatever the reason, there is a way to put a stop to these suits, and that is to become compliant with the law.

We have heard from many business owners that they are “grand-fathered in” or that their business permits were signed, so they are compliant. This is not the case. There are few exemptions to ADA law. It has been suggested that you approach your business in the position of a person with a disability. Think about how a person would approach your business. Where would they park? How would they get inside your business? How easy is it to navigate once they are inside? Are there any obstacles to being able to do business with you? What about your policies, are you considering ADA access when you create them? While answering these questions will not ensure that you are in compliance, it is a start towards understanding the issues. To become compliant, we suggest that you hire a professional who is skilled in reviewing ADA accessibility. It is further recommended that you obtain legal counsel in this process to ensure that any reports or recommendations generated would be protected by attorney-client privilege.